By Lina Holloway
I believe in coffee. Many moments of my life have been shared with a good cup of coffee. Some moments have been as simple as watching the sun rise over the clouds on my first plane ride. There have also been moments as complex as waiting for the doctor to come out and give me confirmation that my father had cancer. I remember holding onto that cup as if it were a life raft. Its warmth running threw me as my sips kept pace with the ticks of the second hand. Home brewed coffee, roadside café coffee, five dollar coffee and even hospital coffee have all held my hand and shared my life.
One of my first cups of coffee, I remember, was as a small child when my parents were still married. I remember knowing I wanted milk and sugar in it, so it could not have been the first cup, just the first cup worth remembering. It was a weekend and my parents were cooking breakfast for my brothers and I while they shared a cup of coffee. I asked for a cup. They gave it to me in a translucent gray plastic Tupperware cup. I guess they were afraid I would break a regular coffee mug. I remember sitting at the white laminate dining room table clasping the cup with both hands. I gently blew on the coffee to ensure it was cool enough to drink while peering at my brothers over the cup’s rim. My brothers were talking and goofing around. My mom and dad were in the kitchen readying breakfast. Our dog, Jack, curled up at my feet. There was no shouting or fighting. There was family. That is what I associate with that first memory of coffee.
A few years later, after my parents had split up and my brothers were old enough to have a life of their own, my mother and I took a trip to Arkansas to see my Gramps, grandma and grandpa. As we were driving down the highway, I saw the sign for a Denny’s up ahead and decided to ask my mom if we could stop for a cup of coffee. I asked even though I was sure the answer would be no. We did not have much money and my mother was already strapped with the cost of the trip so an extravagance like going to a diner seemed out of the question. To my surprise, my mother said, “That sounds good.” and pulled off the road. As we walked in, my eyes scanned the room and felt comfort from the dim lighting, brown vinyl covered booths and most of all the smell of coffee. My eyes settled on the row of stools at a counter where a few elderly men were silently drinking their coffee and then I looked up at my mom and asked, “Mommy, can we sit on the stools?” She obliged and I climbed up on the stool to eagerly await my cup of coffee. I don’t remember what we talked about or how long we sat there, but I remember feeling happy, like I had just been given the best gift in the world. The comfort of that night has never left me. I have moved around and had to travel for work, but I always find a Denny’s to have a cup of coffee and feel that comfort.
My early twenties were a blur of pricy, over caffeinated meetings with my best-friend. Neither of us was into drinking alcohol, so we spent our girl time with a highly caffeinated latte instead. Life was changing so quickly before our eyes and demanding more and more from us. We would step into a coffee shop and the world would slow. It was a time to settle down and tend to the current joys or sorrows that life was dealing us. In that hour or two that we would meet for coffee, there would be tears from heartache and tears from laughter that wouldn’t end. Now and then when I venture away from my regular cup of coffee with milk and sugar to get a latte, I always think of friendship.
Four months ago my family and I were huddled in a hospital waiting room while my son’s birth-mother was in labor. We all had a cup of the hospital’s finest joe and sat around with happiness radiating from every one of us. I had waited so long to finally be a mother and my family had been there the entire time giving me encouragement that it would happen for me one day. Finally the most amazing baby boy was born and then my next few nights were filled with coffee as I waited on his every need. Then one morning I received a phone call from the birth-mother that signaled an end to this bliss. She couldn’t let that amazing boy go and I couldn’t blame her because buckling him in to his car seat for his ride back to his mother was the hardest thing I have ever done. My husband rushed home from work to say his good-byes and as soon as we watched the car drive away, he turned to me and asked if I wanted to go get some coffee. He knows my relationship with coffee and that a cup of coffee could comfort me more than his arms, my mother’s tears or the all the sorrow that my brother’s eyes held for me.
These last four months have been spent in almost complete solitude when I am not at work. Sometimes I look at my coffee pot while it brews hoping that it is magic. I am hoping that with a sip of that coffee, life will return to normal and that the pain will go away. It hasn’t done that, but it has been there to comfort me, warm me and wake me up even though most nights I go to bed hoping to never see the light of day. About two weeks ago, my brother asked me to get a cup of coffee with him when I got off work. He wanted to check on me and let the family know I was OK. I settled into a booth at the local Denny’s, ordered my coffee and waited for him to arrive. When he showed up, he had my mother and other brother in tow. They all sat down and ordered a cup of coffee and apologized for ambushing me. I just smiled and wrapped my hands around my coffee cup and took a sip. During that cup of coffee I remembered that I wasn’t alone. I remembered family, friendship and most of all; I remembered that there is still happiness to be had.
Coffee has been there during long cries with my best-friend over life’s heartaches. It has been there while reflecting on the wow moments in life with my niece. It was there for my first job, when I was pouring it for other people who also share their life with coffee. Coffee has kept me awake all night studying and woke me up on days when I didn’t want to get out of bed. I got to know my husband over many, late night, coffee drinking sessions and when we have problems, we find ourselves back at that table with a cup of coffee between us. Coffee has been there during conversations with my mom where I tell her all the feelings that I am having that I would not share with anyone else. Coffee was there when I gossiped with my grandmother. It has also been there with me in times when the only joy I could find in life was a good cup of coffee. Everyone in my life knows, even in my darkest times, when I have wanted to shut out the entire world, they can ask me to meet them for a cup of coffee and I will be there. After years of fighting cancer, my father, who first taught me to love coffee, cannot stomach the smell of it, but I wonder if he still believes in it.
I hope you enjoyed Lina Holloway’s story as much as I did. She will be on “Commanding Your Life” BlogTalkRadio on February 1, 2016. Be sure to join us by clicking this link and then click the follow button to be notified of the show. You can purchase Lina’s latest book at
To contact Linda go to www.linahollowaybooks.com
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“As you have believed, let it be done for you.” Matthew 9:29
And It is so!
Beverly Fells Jones,
The Silver Fox of Consciousness,
The Colony, Texas
picture courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.com “Woman And Coffee” by Pong